Hot-take for the week: We need to stop blaming TikTok for Disney Park go-ers choosing to enact dangerous stunts.
TikTok has been at the center of many recent Disney Parks stories, including many that we at Disney Fanatic have reported on. Cast Members and Guests often take to the platform to share their stories and experiences at the Parks. Recently, a Cast Member shared her story of how she was embroiled in a police investigation practically on her first day at work. This former Cast Member also shared a story of how he once dealt with a rude Guest on the platform.
But the TikTok videos that have garnered enormous attention have not necessarily been these kinds of storytime videos but rather ones that involve TikTokers partaking in actions and foolish behavior. But is this simply for the sake of views? Are these behaviors because of the existence of a platform like TikTok?
Social media, particularly TikTok, doesn’t hold responsibility for instigating ridiculous behavior on the part of Park-goers. Rude Guests, asinine stunts, and attention seekers are as old as the Parks themselves. (Realistically, even older.)
However, it has given people a platform on which to showcase said stupidity, giving them easier access to their 15 minutes of fame.
Before the advent of TikTok, if someone were trying to do something as absurdly dangerous in a family Park as climbing the Cinderella Castle (bearing in mind that most children learn by mimicking the behavior of the adults around them), they would have been safely retrieved from that location and then escorted away.
Now, everyone has become a “newsperson,” and everyone can cover and showcase these stories, adding incentive for those Disney Adults seeking this kind of attention.
The potential to go viral, especially on a platform like TikTok, built to encourage shorter, catchy video content, is massive. And the chance of growing one’s following after growing viral and becoming an influencer is one that many users enjoy and look toward.
But it’s important to note that going viral doesn’t only necessarily mean stupid stunts. That decision reflects only on the person who’s risking their safety at that moment.
In the recent past, there have been some incredibly wholesome moments that have also gone viral and gained a lot of traction on social media. Just recently, including in the last week, two different occasions of Guests who were hard of hearing bonding with Cast Members went viral on the platform. One fan spoke with Shang-Chi and the other with Princess Anna. Even Disney’s recent TikTok collaboration where many creators are using Disney Parks’ voices in their content is resulting in videos that are gaining a lot of views and attention as well.
The reality is, this kind of risky behavior would occur whether a platform like TikTok existed or not, and blaming what is quite literally an inanimate object for human actions is likely not going to get us anywhere, or result in any real behavioral change. Surely we are past the point where we blame virtual platforms for our behaviors and take some accountability for our own actions? At this stage of the social media game, continuing to blame these platforms for full-grown adults making unsavory decisions for the sake of 30 seconds of fame from it feels like a cop-out.
The choice to risk one’s own, and occasionally even others’ lives, is just that: a choice. And it’s one that people would make with or without the existence of a social media platform.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s and may not reflect the sentiments of Disney Fanatic as a whole.